Over The Shoulder Boulder Holders and Other Complaints

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Do you know how hard it is to shop for bras when you’re poor and fat?

Rhetorical question; I’m going to tell you how hard it is from a personal perspective.

I get told a lot that I’m not fat which is very lovely and all but not at all helpful when it comes to clothes shopping. At the end of the day women’s clothing stores stock for people with smaller dimensions than I’ve got and it doesn’t bother me much. Really it doesn’t. Seriously. Stop calling me “curvy” or “thick” or “bootylicious” or whatever.

But I’m not here to talk about body image. I’m here to talk about boobslings.

I got my first bra at the tender age of 10 years old. My mum had been buying those weird camisoles with the lame elastic straps built in that are meant to support tender buds of femininity, and I dutifully wore them, despite having the vague suspicion that my tatas were not meant to destroy them quite so efficiently. It was only when we went to a doctor for something completely unrelated that a medical professional looked at my chest, arched an eyebrow and said “Why isn’t your child in an actual bra?”
“… it’s not puppy fat?”
By then I was a D cup and growing.

The horrid thing about chesticles is that they never really stop growing, or shrinking for that matter. Like a metal ball that keeps rolling out of the fridge, they change size at the drop of a hat. Hormones, pregnancy, drank too much water, botched up Satanic rituals- the chest lumps will be whatever size they please. And so, for many women, a yearly check-up at the local bra-peddler is in order, so that a lady can tell whether their C-cups are actually C-cups. The problem begins when you start above a D and stay above a D.

Being blessed in the chest is not all it’s cracked up to be. I always wondered why people would pay to get it expanded until I realised that when people paid for silicon, they usually paid for a D-cups worth of silicon. Clever, clever ladies. May your jiggle give you joy.

Hell is beyond a DD, where the selection drastically decreases from “fun and flirty” to “matronly and maternity leave”. Where, owing to a misguided belief that titties are like oak trees in that they grow bigger with each passing year, bra-makers believe that in order to be an E cup you must be 65 and over and therefore thoroughly uninterested in lace and bows. Meanwhile a B cup means that you must be like the Dancing Queen: young and sweet, only 17, and therefore looking for a bra that resembles a tambourine. As someone who has a gentleman caller, I do not want my human-udders to look like my grandmother’s coffee table. I want sexy, and I’m sure my A cup sisters do too. Chest size is not proportional to age, friends.

Nor is it proportional to income. I do not fund my size with a disposable income. The maintenance of my mammaries is not dependent on how much money I have – they do not magically shrink with my wallet. Why then do I have to choose between bras and food?? Primark, the haven of the broke and clothesless, doesn’t stock above a D, to my horror. I have to go to high end stores, not because I wish to look high-end under my hoodie-and-jeans uniform, but because chest dispensers at my size are not stuck in cheaper stores. All I want is to restrain the lactose membranes, not pay a small country’s GED every time I shopped.

AND UGH don’t get me started on sports bras. Do they even work for people? Genuine question, I’ve not been able to wear one since 2001. I was introduced to shock absorbers a few years ago, which are basically ribcages over your ribcages. They absorbed the shock of breathing and cradled the bosom to the body. I couldn’t move them for love or money – just as well, it cost me an arm and a leg. A 10 on the Richter scale couldn’t shake the boobquake.

And so here are my demands. I want a reasonably priced plus-sized bra and a sports bra that allows me to breathe as I run. Is that too much to ask? I mean, alternatively they could raise the living wage and increase nurses’ salaries, but I doubt that will happen any time soon. So really, just give me a good bra.

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